On the face of it there’s no real reason for Astravan’s continued existence. With a 1.6m3 cargo area and no sliding side loading doors, the British-built Vauxhall compares poorly as a cargo shifter with, for example, Citroën’s Nemo, or with Vauxhall’s own ageing Combo for that matter.
Astravan fans probably accept that’s the case, but don’t much care. That’s because they like its appearance, its on-the-road performance and the image it projects. If they’re honest about it, they probably like it because it doesn’t look all that much like a van.
With a payload capacity of from 632kg to 650kg, and derived from the previous version of the Astra passenger car, Astravan is offered with quite a wide choice of engines.
So far as diesels are concerned, customers can pick from a 1.3-litre generating 90hp/200Nm, a 1.7-litre producing 100hp/240Nm or a 1.9-litre at either 120hp/280Nm or 150hp/320Nm. Petrolheads get to content themselves with a 1.4-litre at 90hp/125Nm.
As for equipment, opt for the top-of-the-range Sportive SE and you’re talking bling central. Goodies include 17in alloy wheels, a lowered sports suspension and a body-coloured front lower spoiler, rear roof spoiler, lower rear skirt and side sills as well as air-conditioning and sports seats.
All the versions provide the driver with responsive steering, corners-as-if-on-rails handling and a slick gearchange. While the 1.3- and 1.4-litres don’t offer sparkling performance, their stablemates are more than capable of getting a shift-on and the 150hp engine will leave you grinning from ear to ear.
Service intervals are set at 20,000 miles and Astravan comes with a three year/60,000-mile warranty.
Ceased production in 2013; end of an era.